Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
by Sgt. Kathy Pederson
Minnesota State Patrol
Dear Trooper Kathy: My interest is short type trailers that haul snow blowers and mowers etc; I was just curious because of the many trailers I've seen without lights
Trooper Kathy Says: I found most of my answers in chapter 169.69 of Minnesota statutes. Here is a paraphrased version to your questions.
One: Must "all" these short trailers have turn signals and brake lights?
No. A trailer or semitrailer with a gross vehicle weight of 3,000 or more pounds, or a gross weight that exceeds the empty weight of the towing vehicle, that is drawn on a highway, must be equipped with brakes that are adequate to control the movement of and to stop and hold the trailer or semitrailer.
Two: Can these types of trailers get by with only one tail light anymore? NO
Every motor vehicle, and every vehicle that is being drawn at the end of a train of vehicles, registered in this state and manufactured or assembled after Jan. 1, 1960, must be equipped with at least two tail lamps mounted on the rear and on the same level and as widely spaced laterally as practicable.
Three: And if you can see the taillights of the vehicle towing the trailer, must you still need trailer lights?
Yes. You would need taillights in this case but not necessarily brake lights and signal lights as long as you can see the signal lights and the brake lights of the towing vehicle clearly.
If you have any questions regarding traffic safety and/or traffic laws, please e-mail her at
. Sgt. Pederson will not offer advice on specific situations or real events, which involve law enforcement.